Should Australia have a no fault compensation system for vaccines?

I’m doing this blog entry in reply to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning;

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/no-jab-no-play-the-wrong-approach-to-covid-19-vaccine-doctors-warn-20200821-p55o70.html

I want to focus in particular on this quote;

He (Dr Omar Korshid – AMA President) backed calls for the federal government to establish a no-fault vaccine injury compensation scheme before rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine.
“If society is asking everyone to get vaccinated to protect each other, we have a collective responsibility to look after the very rare and unfortunate individuals who are harmed by vaccines.”

What Dr Korshid doesn’t acknowledge is that those very people who claim to have been harmed by vaccines won’t come forward. Having said that, the promise of compensation could bring them out of the woodwork.

I’m not a fan of what amounts to bribery for a start, but the other concern I would have is if the proposed compensation scheme exactly duplicates that of the United States. If it does I will oppose that with every fibre of my being.

Here’s why;

1. The US system is based at the core on the misleading assertion that vaccines are “inherently unsafe”. This has led to a system that does NOT acknowledge system error or failure (eg Fluvax) or practitioner error. This later one has the perfect example from the United States – Hannah Poling. The US compensation system recognises that situation as a situation caused solely by the vaccines concerned (it was more than one – between five and nine in the one visit), and totally exonerated the administrator of the vaccine. This result was exacerbated by the US government conceding the case without a hearing. I will not support a system that doesn’t punish the administrator of the vaccine for doing the wrong thing. I hold the very firm view that any claimed injury – if it is genuine – is from there.

2. The US system is laid out in a separate jurisdiction – the Court of Federal Claims (AKA the Vaccine Court). This court does not hold to the normal standards of evidence presented. The burden of proof is – colloquially – 50 percent and a feather. In other words, all you have to do is establish that vaccine injury was the most likely cause of the issue. That is just plain wrong and does nothing to assist in the understanding of any genuine issue if there is one. The idea of compensation at the core is to prove that compensation is warranted. To do that, a proper investigation is required – not just for the benefits of legal precedent as such for the compensation itself, but also for science as there might be lessons that science will find useful to increase vaccine safety even further. There is always something new. Science evolves.

3. The US system hasn’t stopped anti vaxxers from complaining. In fact it has exacerbated the issue it was originally supposed to fix. The way their system has been laid out over simplifies matters – which while that helps struggling families conversely harms the structure needed to make it all work properly and as intended (to stop people from taking big pharma to court instead and waste their money that they need to be using to do their job in research and development).

Now all this doesn’t mean I am opposed to the idea. In fact – if it’s done correctly to the proper standards of proof and investigation and holds an existing jurisdiction at federal level (the Family Court would be the place to be expanded to cope with this given that these claims are family orientated and has an effect on families primarily) – I would be all for it. The thing about that sort of environment is that it would force families to bring out the medical records of their loved one (especially if it’s a child) but maintain the existing privacy of the Family Court so that wouldn’t become a circus per se. That would form part of the investigation. This all fits in to what I have mentioned previously on this blog in the “Once and for all – prove it” entry from back in January 2017. It’s all about using science to learn from any issues and further improve safety. But how can science do that when all these claims only make their way to biased soap boxes of deceit like the Vaxxed bus? They talk about giving these people a voice. That sort of soap box will be ignored because it is random, uncontrolled and subject to emotion based speculation and no scientific facts.

So the other aspect of a vaccine compensation scheme that I would approve of is the ability for an existing authority to receive a report of a vaccine injury claim (a version of a whistle blowing if you like) from any member of the public – and said authority having the ability (subject to a confirmation that there could be an issue there) to bring the case before the court to ascertain the claim. It would gag the nutcases who are not telling the truth, or give them compensation if there is an actual issue as well as providing the benefit I already pointed to for science.

While I’m typing this, I also want to comment on the current application – the proposed (and not confirmed yet) vaccine for COVID-19. Scientists are warning against making it a requirement so early due to the long testing process being fast tracked. I don’t mean fast tracked to Russian standards (that was way too fast). I mean the current track being followed in particular by Oxford. The AMA is still favouring education over aversive methods like no jab no pay and no jab no play as examples. Now given that COVID-19 poses more of a threat to adults than children I would for now support not using the latter. The experience with Fluvax would be enough proof of that. And the present version of no jab no pay is also keyed towards the kids so that would need a different variety of aversive penalty.

In the early stages of the roll out, the only thing I would be prohibiting for those who refuse to be vaccinated is overseas travel – should the international border be re-opened. I would certainly be requiring those coming in to be vaccinated. I honestly believe that those who work in hospitals and aged care need to have the vaccine as well, in order to protect the vulnerable (both in terms of age and otherwise exposed as such). There may be other options but it doesn’t need to go over in any blanket manner – at least not yet. Once the efficacy is well and truly established that can follow then. But that shouldn’t be until at least 2025. That is when we need to start punishing the fools who claim COVID-19 is a hoax (even though we should really be punishing them right now!) and use that to refuse the vaccine. By that time hopefully that conspiracy BS will have been dealt with.

But if I know the anti vaxxers – they’ll still be running their collective mouths. I just hope that I can gag them on one of their pet lines personally. The hate speech claim that vaccines cause Autism. It doesn’t, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that!

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